Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Prayer of Praise and Thanksgiving with Father Benedict Groeschel

Deign, O God, To Rescue Me

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Below My Feet by Mumford and Sons

Dispel from Me

Monday, February 27, 2012

Slumber by Needtobreathe

Fr. Barron and Dr. Scott Hahn discuss Modernity, the Bible and Theology

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Timothy Cardinal Dolan: Homecoming Homily

Timothy Cardinal Dolan: Homecoming Homily from Rocco Palmo on Vimeo.

Don't miss this!

Lenten Reflections from Catholicism


1. The life of a disciple demonstrates and necessitates a decision for Christ, but deeper and more important than our own decision for Christ is his decision for us. What is the result of Christ’s decision for us?

2. The Lord Jesus compels a choice. This decision for Christ also contains within it a negation of something else. What does your decision for Christ affirm? What does your decision for Christ negate?

3. The decision for Christ will change one’s life. What change did Christ provoke in your own life? What have been some of the most difficult and rewarding aspects of your decision for Christ?

4. What is so strange or unusual about the Lord Jesus and why do you think that he provoked both amazement and fear?

5. Christ’s identity and mission are one. The same can be said for all the baptized. What are the practical implications of the unity and identity and mission in the lives of faithful followers of Christ? 

For more info on Catholicism go to Word on Fire!

Fr. Robert Barron and Dr. Scott Hahn on Biblical Interpretation and The Liturgy

Just Pray

The following comes from Simcha Ficher at the NCR:

I hate to tell you this, but you’re going to have to pray today.

Any Lenten penance you’re doing—any fasting, any sacrifice, any alsmgiving, any good works —these are all very well.  But if you’re not praying regularly, all your efforts are like buying someone a present, wrapping it carefully with a big, beautiful bow, and then putting it away in a closet forever.  It’s like cooking someone the perfect omelette and then leaving it in the pan.  It’s like calling someone your best friend and then—well, not talking to him.

Praying is hard work.  Praying is boring.  Praying makes you feel silly, and you don’t do it very well.  So what?  Do it anyway, because if you’re not, you’re like a gerbil running around the house in an exercise ball: all that running may get you somewhere, but what are you going to do when you get there?  You’re still inside your little world.  What you need is to make contact with the outside.

If you already pray regularly, then Lent is the time to increase and deepen your prayer life.  But if you rarely pray, or if your prayer life is comes and goes, then Lent is the time to commit to daily prayer, even if it’s just something short.

Psalm 51, which was the responsorial Psalm on Ash Wednesday, makes a wonderful morning prayer.  It’s easy to memorize, simple, rhythmic, and comprehensive:

A clean heart create for me, o God,
and a steadfast spirit renew within me.
Cast me not out from your presence,
And your holy spirit take not from me.
Give me back the joy of your salvation
And a willing spirit sustain within me.

Just do it!  Even if you’re in a state of mortal sin, prayer starts to put the brakes on the free fall.  Don’t wait until you can do it right.  Just pray.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Admonishing Sinners

Sister by Mumford and Sons

An 11 year old child teaches us

The Following comes from In God's Company 2:
An 11-year old teaches us! Little Chiara is riddled with cancer. Last January, she came from the United States with her father, her grandmother, her godmother and some friends. Her family wanted to implore the Blessed Mother to help their little girl. 

Her mother stayed home with her 2 younger children. During the deep enconter we had with her, we would never have guessed that the doctors had not given her long to live. She was leading the conversation with surprising joy and serenity, cracking jokes and reassuring everyone by her positive spirit. Then, with the simplicity of a pure heart, she explained to me, "You know, Jesus will decide for me, I know that He will make the best decision. I am confident! Either I will be healed and I am happy, or I will not be healed and I am happy too! In both cases, I win because I know that it is He who decides".

She said to her family, "If I die, I will go to heaven and I will wait for you there!"

Chiara was able to meet Vicka who kissed her tenderly and prayed for her for 20 minutes. Chiara said to her, "You know, Vicka, I am not afraid to die! If I live, I win. If I die, I win! In both cases I'll be with Jesus!" Vicka answered her in her ear, "You are right, you have no reason to be afraid!" Her father was deeply moved and he confided to us, "I realize that Chiara actually did not need to come to Medjugorje, she already had peace in her heart. But it is us (her family) who needed to come ! Here we have found peace."

Scott Hahn and Fr. Robert Barron on the New Atheism

Friday, February 24, 2012

Fr. Robert Barron comments on why we confess to a priest

Catholic Apologetics: Calling Priests "Father"

Isn't calling a priest "Father" in violation of Matthew 23:9?   No, in this passage Jesus is using a hyperbole (exaggerated literary expression) to make a point.  Otherwise, St. Stephen the first martyr (Acts 7:2) and St. Paul would be in violation of this command (Romans 4:1, 12, 16; 9:10; 1 Corinthians 4:15; 10:1).

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Mumford and Sons, The Avett Brothers and Bob Dylan

Pope Benedict on Lent and our time in the Desert

The following comes from

As Benedict XVI led the Church in beginning Lent today, he reflected that the sojourn in the desert is a time of ambivalence: an opportunity for special closeness with God, a time of "first love," but also a time of aridity, want and clouds that obscure heaven.
The Pope offered these reflections during the general audience, which on Ash Wednesday, he traditionally dedicates to a reflection on Lent.
This year, he noted the multitude of biblical references to the number 40, listing them with a brief explanation of each.
"With the recurring number of 40, a spiritual atmosphere is described which remains relevant and valid," the Holy Father said. "And the Church, precisely through these days of Lent, intends to preserve their enduring value and to make their efficacy present for us. The Christian liturgy during Lent seeks to promote a path of spiritual renewal in light of this long biblical experience, above all for the sake of learning to imitate Jesus, who during the 40 days he spent in the desert, taught us to conquer temptation with the Word of God."
Benedict XVI noted that the 40 years of Israel wandering in the desert was a time of "ambivalent attitudes and situations."
"On the one hand," he said, "they are the season of first love with God, and between God and his people, when he speaks to their hearts, pointing out to them the path to follow. God, as it were, had taken up his abode with Israel; he went before them in a cloud and a column of fire; each day, he provided for their nourishment by making manna descend from the heavens and by making water gush forth from the rock. Therefore, the years Israel passed in the desert can be seen as the time of their being especially chosen by God and of their clinging to him: the time of first love."
Nevertheless, those 40 years are also "the time of the greatest temptation and peril, when Israel murmurs against her God and wishes to return to paganism and to build her own idols, out of the need she feels to worship a God who is closer and more tangible."
Restored joy
The Pope suggested that this "ambivalence," we "surprisingly rediscover in Jesus' earthy sojourn; naturally, however, without any compromise with sin."
Jesus' 40 days in the desert are a time of "profound union with the Father," the Pontiff said, but also a time when he "is exposed to danger and is assailed by temptation and the seduction of the Evil One, who proposes another Messianic way, one distant from God's design, for it passes by way of power, success, and domination and not by way of the total gift of the cross."
Benedict XVI applied the same "situation of ambivalence" to the Church today.
"In this 'desert,'" he said, "we who believe certainly have the opportunity to have a profound experience of God, who strengthens the spirit, confirms the faith, nourishes hope and inspires charity. It is an experience that makes us sharers in Christ's victory over sin and death through his sacrifice of love on the cross. But the 'desert' is also a negative aspect of the reality that surrounds us: aridity; the poverty of words of life and values; secularism and cultural materialism, which enclose people within the worldly horizons of an existence bereft of all reference to the transcendent. This is also the environment in which even heaven above us is obscured, for it is covered by the clouds of egoism, misunderstanding and deception."
"Despite this," the Pope continued, "also for the Church today, time spent in the desert can be transformed into a time of grace, for we have the certainty that God can make the living water that quenches thirst and brings refreshment gush forth even from the hardest rock."
The Holy Father concluded with this reflection on Lent: "We can find in these 40 days that lead us to the Easter of Resurrection the renewed hope that enables us to accept every difficulty, affliction and trial with patience and with faith, in the knowledge that out of the darkness the Lord will make a new day to dawn. And if we have been faithful to Jesus by following him on the way of the cross, the radiant world of God, the world of light, of truth and of joy will be restored to us: It will be the new dawn created by God himself. I wish a blessed journey of Lent to you all!"


The following comes from the CNA:

On Saturday, the prefect of the Congregation for Saints' Causes announced that Oct. 21 will be the
date for the canonization of the first Native American saint, Kateri Tekakwitha.
Blessed Kateri will be raised to the altars along with Marianne Cope, a German-born immigrant to the United States, who followed St. Damian in caring for the lepers of Hawaii.
In addition, the following will be canonized that day:
-- Jacques Berthieu, French martyr and priest of the Society of Jesus
-- Pedro Calungsod, Filipino lay catechist and martyr
-- Giovanni Battista Piamarta, Italian priest and founder of the Congregation of the Holy Family of Nazareth and of the Congregation of the Humble Sister Servants of the Lord
-- Maria del Carmen (born Maria Salles y Barangueras), Spanish foundress of the Conceptionist Missionary Sisters of Teaching

Flannery O'Conner: On Southern Catholic Novelists

"The Catholic novelist in the South will see many distorted images of Christ, but he will certainly feel that a distorted image of Christ is better than no image at all. I think he will feel a good deal more kinship with backwoods prophets and shouting fundamentalists than he will with those politer elements for whom the supernatural is an embarrassment and for whom religion has become a department of sociology or culture or personality development."
                                                             Flannery O'Conner 

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Fr. Robert Barron on the Eucharist

Pope Benedict: On the Church and the State

"The State which would provide everything, absorbing everything into itself, would ultimately become a mere bureaucracy incapable of guaranteeing the very thing which the suffering person—every person—needs: namely, loving personal concern. We do not need a State which regulates and controls everything, but a State which, in accordance with the principle of subsidiarity, generously acknowledges and supports initiatives arising from the different social forces and combines spontaneity with closeness to those in need. The Church is one of those living forces."
                                                      Pope Benedict XVI 

Monday, February 20, 2012

Archbishop Dolan with Fr. Benedict Groeschel

Marine Chaplain Fr. Vincent Capodanno on Road to Sainthood

The following comes from the Aquinas and More site:

Vincent Robert Capodanno was born into an Italian Catholic family on Staten Island in 1929. He attended Catholic schools and entered the Maryknoll Missionary Society after his first year in college and was sent on to the Maryknoll seminary to complete his education. He was ordained in June of 1957. Fr. Capodanno's first missionary assignment was to Taiwan where he served in many capacities for seven years, usually among the poor and disadvantaged. After a brief return to the U.S., he was reassigned to a Maryknoll school in Hong Kong.

Seeking new challenges, as he himself said, Fr. Capodanno requested a new assignment and in December 1965, after finishing officer's candidate school, he received his commission as a U.S. Navy chaplain. His first assignment came in 1966 when he joined the First Marine Division in Vietnam. When his tour was complete, he requested that it be extended and he served as chaplain in a Navy hospital. After serving briefly at the hospital, he reported to the 5th Marine Division.

As a chaplain with the Marines, Fr. Capodanno quickly earned a reputation for selfless and untiring service to his men. He became affectionately known as the “Grunt Padre” among the fighting men. As a chaplain he had no command authority as did the other officers, yet because of the special love and kindness he offered, and his willingness to share the ordinary hardships of the most junior Marines, he inspired a loyalty surpassing that of the very finest officers.

His division chaplain, David Casazza, once inquired what father did when he was with the troops. He replied “I am just there with them – I walk with them and sit with them; I eat with them and sleep in the holes with them – and I talk with them – but only when they are ready to talk. It takes time, but I never rush them.”

This compassionate Marine chaplain never feared danger. When troops assembled for combat operations, he was with them. When they went in to the heat of battle, he was with them. During the fiercest fighting, all the infantry men would watch over Fr. Capodanno because they knew he would be moving among the men, ministering to those in greatest need, even to the very front line – never concerned with his own safety – concerned only with his men. The men had an unspoken resolve to “watch over our padre.”

Father Capodanno went among the wounded and dying, giving last rites and taking care of his beloved Marines. Always watching out for them, as they watched out for him. Wounded in the face and suffering a severe shrapnel wound that nearly severed his hand, during the epic battle of Dong Son in September 1967, Father Vince moved to help a wounded Marine only yards from an enemy machine gun. Father Capodanno died from a machine gun blast taking care of this young Marine. When his body was recovered, he had 27 bullet wounds.

As a young seminarian, Vincent Capodanno had written to his superior about a book he was given to read, Radiating Christ, and said “this book will be a great help (to me) in directing God's light to the shadows throughout the world. The book's author, Fr. Raoul Plus, was a French military chaplain in World War I. The descent and incarnation described in Radiating Christ had now, in the end, brought Fr. Vincent to suffering and burial. The more he united himself with his Marines, the more he was united to Christ. As the Lord suffered with and for those He loved, so Fr. Vincent endured the harsh trials of war with and for those he served in love, for the sake of Christ and in imitation of Him.
On December 27, 1968 he was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor in recognition of his selfless sacrifice.

On May 21, 2006 Fr. Capodanno was officially declared “Servant of God” as the cause for his sainthood moves forward.

Cardinal Dolan happy with new role but would rather be a saint

The Following comes from the CNA:

Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan of New York says he is happy to be a cardinal but that he is aiming for a higher calling.

“As grateful as I am for being a Cardinal, I really want to be a saint,” Cardinal Dolan said to the media after the Feb. 18 ceremony. “I mean that, and I’ve got a long way to go but it is all about holiness, it is all about friendship with Jesus and it is all about being a saint. And that’s what I want to be.”

Cardinal Dolan said he was particularly moved by the announcement of two new American saints at the conclusion of the consistory.

In total, Pope Benedict announced seven new saints who will be canonized on Oct. 21. The group includes Blesseds Marianne Cope and Kateri Tekakwitha, who will become the first Native American to be declared a saint.

Cardinal Dolan said he recognized this week that his elevation means having to resist the unholy lure of power and prestige.

“I said, ‘Dolan you got temptations.’ I’ve always had them, but now I’ve got one that could go to my head – literally,” he said, pointing to his new red biretta hat. He told himself,” ‘you can’t (let that happen) because it is all about humility and it is all about service and love and staying close to God and his people. That’s what it’s about it’s not about power and prestige.’”

Standing on the steps of the Pontifical North American College, he recalled being particularly taken aback when he attempted to hang his new soutane in his wardrobe earlier this week. There he found a red cassock belonging to the late Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua of Philadelphia, who died this past month.

“And I thought to myself, ‘Dolan, in the future somebody is going to be taking down your stuff because you are going to be gone.’ And that is what it is all about. It is all about eternity. It is not about all these passing things.”

The 62-year-old Archbishop of New York has made headlines in the Italian newspapers for his Feb.17 address to his fellow cardinals-in-waiting, as part of their day of reflection and prayer at the Vatican. While he was referred to as “Papabile” in one paper, and in another he was labeled a “rock star.”

“Well when you use ‘rock’ in the Vatican you have something else in mind. St. Peter, right? That’s what his name means, ‘rock.’ So if I can be a rock like him, not bad,” he replied.

“And what about becoming the next Pope?” asked one American journalist. “Non parlo inglese” (I don’t speak English), quipped Cardinal Dolan in Italian to roars of laughter from the press.

His talk to his 21 fellow new cardinals was on the challenge of the new evangelization, with an eye to the upcoming Year of Faith. He explained to the media that he believes “the Gospel has always been well received, in that people read and say, ‘boy, that’s nice’.” But “it is putting it into practice that challenges us, and the same is true of the new evangelization. Now doing that is where the rubber meets the road.”

As a cardinal, the New York archbishop will now take titular possession of a parish in the Diocese of Rome. In his case it is Church of Our Lady of Guadalupe, in the Monte Mario area of the city.

Despite the grandeur and solemnity of the consistory ceremony, it was observed by many that Cardinal Dolan was still his usual cheerful self throughout. Indeed, he was the only cardinal who bounded up the steps of the high altar in St. Peter’s Basilica to receive his red biretta and cardinal’s ring from the Pope.

“You just got to be yourself,” he told journalists, “why put on airs or try to be somebody different? The Italians say you make the gnocchi with the dough you got – and Lord knows I got a lot of dough,” he laughed pointing to his stomach, “so, you’ve just got to keep at it.”

“It’s a great day for all of New York,” said Cardinal Dolan summing up events in Rome, while holding aloft his new red biretta.

“This is the hat I want to put on the top of the Empire State Building, the home plate at Yankee Stadium and the Statue of Liberty. So this is for the whole of New York. It’s not for me.”

Fr. Robert Barron comments on Conscience and Morality


The following comes from Zenit:
Hours before receiving the red hat, Cardinal-designate Timothy Dolan, archbishop of New York, offered his soon-to-be brothers in the College of Cardinals a seven-point reflection on evangelization.
Cardinal-designate Dolan was chosen by the Pope to address the group for today's Day of Reflection and Prayer on the vigil of the consistory.
The New York archbishop recommended the following seven pointers:
1) Remembering that even those who boast of their secularism have an innate longing for the divine; the first step of evangelization must be to keep the quest for God alive
2) "Be not afraid" -- confident, without being triumphalist, since it is the power of God who sends his people to evangelize 
3) Knowing that the new evangelization is not about presenting a doctrine or belief-system, but a Person, whose name is Jesus
4) Nevertheless, this Jesus is the Truth. Hence, evangelization is linked to catechesis
5) An evangelist must be a person of joy -- someone who smiles
6) The new evangelization is about love -- the love of God made concrete in service
7) Finally, martyrdom. A reminder that the Church is now peopled by those who are suffering persecution for their faith, and that these martyrs give impetus to the new evangelization

Pope Benedict: Catholic Church only exists to unite God and man

The following comes from the CNA:

In the presence of 22 cardinals who were elevated yesterday, Pope Benedict XVI said that the Catholic Church only exists for the purpose of bringing people to Jesus and not for her own sake.

“The Church does not exist for her own sake, she is not the point of arrival, but she has to point upwards, beyond herself, to the realms above,” he said Feb. 19 to a packed St. Peter’s Basilica.

“The Church is truly herself to the extent that she allows the Other, with a capital ‘O,’ to shine through her – the One from whom she comes and to whom she leads.”

The Pope made his remarks in his homily for the Mass of the Solemnity of the Chair of St. Peter.

Dwelling upon the Gospel passage in which Peter proclaims Jesus to be “the Christ, the Son of the living God,” the Pope explored the significance of Christ’s response that Peter would be “the rock” upon which the Church was built.

The Pope explained how the old covenant between God and the Jewish people was first made with Abraham, of whom the Prophet Isaiah writes, “look to the rock from which you were hewn ... look to Abraham your father.”

Therefore, just as Abraham “the father of believers” is seen as “the rock that supports creation,” so too is Peter the basis for a new covenant. He is “the rock that is to prevail against the destructive forces of evil.”

The Pope then turned his gaze towards Bernini’s 17th-century bronze sculpture, the Chair of Peter, which dominates the apse of St. Peter’s Basilica.

He described it as an “enormous bronze throne that seems to hover in mid air, but in reality is supported by the four statues of the great Fathers of the Church from East and West.” Above it, he noted, are “triumphant angles suspended in the air” and the “glory of the Holy Spirit” depicted in the oval window above. Given today’s feast, the sculpture was adorned with 144 burning candles.

Pope Benedict proposed that the statue “represents a vision of the essence of the Church and the place within the Church of the Petrine Magisterium.”

The Church “is like a window, the place where God draws near to us, where he comes towards our world,” where God “reaches” us and where we “set off” towards him, the Pope explained.

The Church “has the task of opening up, beyond itself, a world which tends to become enclosed within itself, the task of bringing to the world the light that comes from above, without which it would be uninhabitable.”

Inside the magnificent bronze throne is a wooden chair which was thought for many centuries to have belonged to St. Peter himself but was later discovered to be a 9th century gift to the Pope from the Holy Roman Emperor, Charles the Bald.

“Saint Peter’s chair, we could say, is the throne of truth which takes its origin from Christ’s commission after the confession at Caesarea Philippi,” said Pope Benedict.

He also described it as a visible reminder of the famous expression of the early Church Father, Saint Ignatius of Antioch, who described the Church of Rome as “she that ‘presides in charity’.”

“In truth, presiding in faith is inseparably linked to presiding in love. Faith without love would no longer be an authentic Christian faith,” he said.

To “preside in charity,” the Pope taught, “is to draw men and women into a Eucharistic embrace – the embrace of Christ – which surpasses every barrier and every division, creating communion from all manner of differences.”

Pope Benedict also reflected on the importance of Sacred Tradition and Sacred Scripture for the Petrine ministry. It is Sacred Scripture, interpreted with the authority of the Catholic Church and “in the light” of the Church Fathers, which sheds “light upon the Church’s journey through time, providing her with a stable foundation amid the vicissitudes of history,” he said.

Therefore, he concluded, by considering the Altar of the Chair “in its entirety” we can see “twofold movement” of “ascending and descending” which depicts “the reciprocity between faith and love.”

“Whoever believes in Jesus Christ and enters into the dynamic of love that finds its source in the Eucharist,” he stated, “discovers true joy and becomes capable in turn of living according to the logic of this gift.”

“True faith is illumined by love and leads towards love,” just as “the altar of the Chair points upwards towards the luminous window, the glory of the Holy Spirit, which constitutes the true focus for the pilgrim’s gaze as he crosses the threshold of the Vatican Basilica.”

Pope Benedict later returned to similar reflections after Mass as he addressed pilgrims in St. Peter’s Square for the Sunday Angelus address, which he delivered from the window of his apartment.

“The Chair of St. Peter,” he told them, “is a symbol of the special mission of Peter and his successors to shepherd the flock of Christ, holding it together in faith and charity.”

Before praying the midday Marian prayer, he entrusted the new cardinals “to the maternal protection of Mary Most Holy, asking that she always assist them in their service to the Church and sustain them in any trials they may face.”

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Carry Me To The Cross by Kutless

Are you ready for Lent?

The folks at Aggie Catholics have put together a ton of info, resources and links to prepare for Lent! Here is just a bit:

Increased Prayer:

  • Wake up 20 minutes early and start the day in prayer.
  • Daily Mass 1-2 times a week.
  • An hr. in Adoration a week.
  • Go to Confession.
  • Read Scripture daily.
  • Go to a Lenten Bible study.
  • Read a spiritual book.
  • Start to pray a daily Rosary.
  • Pray the Liturgy of the hours.
  • Pray a Divine Mercy Chaplet.
  • Stations of the Cross on Fridays.
  • Pray for your enemies.
  • Watch The Passion of the Christ and then meditate on Christ’s life.
  • Read about the life of a saint.
  • Do an extra spiritual activity at Church
  • Get involved in your parish if you aren’t already.
  • Memorize Scripture verses.
  • Check out a book on spirituality from the parish library.
Increased Almsgiving:

  • When you fast from a meal, give the money you would spend to the poor.
  • Use a coin box from and put all change into it for the poor.
  • Volunteer with St. Vincent de Paul or another charitable organization.
  • Spend more time with your parents.
  • Visit a nursing home.
  • Start tithing.
  • Make a pledge to a worthy charity.
  • Forgive an old grudge.
  • Invite someone to Church.
  • Share your faith with someone.
  • Give someone a Catholic tract or CD.
  • Exercise patience and love.
  • Speak in a pleasant tone to everyone.
  • Look for extra ways to help others.
  • Go out of your way to talk to someone who is shy or difficult.
  • Offer to watch a mother’s child(ren).
  • Drive with love.
  • Write a letter to a relative you haven’t seen in a while.
Increased fasting:
The following are good things we can fast from and have back at a later time:

The following are things we fast from and continue to give up:

  • Fast from speeding.
  • Fast from sarcasm or gossip.
  • Fast from envying what others have.
  • Fast from being lazy or procrastination.
  • Fast from not studying / working hard.
  • Fast from complaining.
  • Fast from some other bad habit.
Here is a list of links about lent. If you have any to add, then leave in the comments or shoot me an email.

Prayers, History, Lenten Suggestions: